Innovation Policy in a Networked World
Olav Sorenson, University of California at Los Angeles

Social relationships channel information, influence, and access to scarce resources. As a consequence, social networks – the patterns of these relationships across the members of a community – influence who comes up with important innovations, whether and how rapidly those innovations get adopted, and who has the ability to commercialize them. They therefore also affect the overall rate at which innovation occurs in the economy. In this essay, Sorenson provides an introduction to and review of the research on social networks most relevant to innovation, with a particular focus on the earliest stages of the innovation process. It then discusses the likely consequences of a variety of policy interventions that could either reduce the importance of social relationships to innovation or alter the patterns of relationships in ways that might promote innovation.


In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w23431, which may be a more recent version.

Are U.S. Companies Too Short-Term Oriented? Some Thoughts
Steven Kaplan, University of Chicago and NBER

U.S. companies are often criticized as overly short-term oriented. Kaplan documents that those criticisms have a long history, going back at least thirty-five years. Kaplan then considers the implications of sustained short-termism for corporate profits, venture capital investment and returns, private equity investment and returns, and corporate valuations. He finds little long-term evidence that is consistent with the predictions of the short-term critics.

Innovation and American K-12 Education
Aaron Chatterji, Duke University and NBER

Economists have long believed that education is essential to the acquisition of human capital and driving economic growth. However, there is concern about the quality and costs of the K-12 education system in the United States and the implications for the development of the nation’s future workforce. There have been calls for more innovation in K-12 education, leveraging technology in the classroom and experimenting with different organizing models for schools, both as a means to lower costs and increase quality. In this paper, Chatterji reviews the economics literature at the intersection between innovation and K-12 education from two different, but related, perspectives. First, he summarizes the evidence about the efficacy of technological and other innovations in the classroom. Second, Chatterji discusses the state of research on how the American K-12 system influences the production of innovators and entrepreneurs. In both instances, he identifies implications for policy and opportunities for future research to generate actionable insights.


In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w23531, which may be a more recent version.

What is the Business of Business?
Andreas Nilsson, Stockholm School of Economics
David Robinson, Duke University and NBER

This paper develops a simple framework for understanding the emergence of new organizational forms, such as socially responsible firms and social entrepreneurs, that embody the private sector’s efforts to resolve problems that typically have been within the purview of government and traditional public charities. Nilsson and Robinson consider organizations that can generate both financial and social returns. Differences in the technologies between the for-profit sector and the social sector give rise to comparative advantages and play a key part in the analysis. This allows the researchers to analyze the conditions under which hybrid organizations emerge in place of traditional charities and profit-maximizers.


In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w23505, which may be a more recent version.

Search and Obfuscation in a Technologically Changing Retail Environment: Some Thoughts on Implications and Policy
Glenn Ellison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
Sara Fisher Ellison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Technologies, especially the Internet, have transformed how consumers search for products and prices. Price search has become cheap and easy and, therefore, ubiquitous, for many products. Just as technologies have made price search easier, however, they have increased incentives that firms have to obfuscate, or make price search harder. In this article, Ellison and Ellison focus on these actions that firms take and their effects on market participants. The researchers discuss empirical evidence on this phenomenon as well as its welfare impacts in the context of theories of search and obfuscation. Finally, they offer a framework for thinking about policy interventions based on this welfare analysis and outline some of the challenges facing policy makers.



Below is a list of conference attendees.
Christopher Adams, Congressional Budget Office
Jeffrey Alexander, RTI International
Gary Anderson, National Science Foundation
Anwar Aridi, George Washington University
Danial Asmat, Department of Justice
Suresh Balakrishnan, University System of Maryland
Cameron Bess, Agency for International Development
Mark Boroush, National Science Foundation
Ron Borzekowski, Amazon
Amy Burke, National Science Foundation
John Burnham, Real Measures, Inc.
Octavian Carare, Federal Communications Commission
Elias Carayannis, George Washington University
Julie Carlson, Federal Trade Commission
David Cervantes, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Gail Cohen, The National Academies of Sciences
Christopher Colford, The World Bank
Daniel Correa, Stanford University
Donna Davis, American Association of the Advancement of Science
Harsh Desai, Nuclear Energy Institute
Travis Doom, Bryce Space and Technology
Kevin Finneran, "Issues in Science & Technology"
Susan Finston, Finston Consulting, LLC
Igor Fridman, Quantized Concepts
Elizabeth Glass, Small Business Administration
Ravi Gupta, The World Bank
Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, National Science Foundation
James Hansley, Hansley Associates, Inc.
Yujia He, Atlantic Council
Brian Headd, Small Business Administration
Robert Hershey, Robert L. Hershey, P.E.
Derek Hill, National Science Foundation
Elke Hodson
Robert Horner, Department of Energy
Cassandra Ingram, Bureau of the Census
Kenan Jarboe
James Kadtke, National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office
Thomas Kalil, Schmidt
Audrey Kindlon, National Science Foundation
Bhavya Lal, Science and Technology Policy Institute
Alfred Lee, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Jessica Lin, Oracles Utilities
Nancy Lutz, National Science Foundation
Jeffrey Macher, Georgetown University
Guru Madhavan, National Academy of Sciences
Alan Marco, Georgia Institute of Technology
Eliot Maxwell, Johns Hopkins University
Alicia McLeod, REDI
Jeffrey Mervis, "Science Magazine"
Peter Meyer, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Erika Meyers, Federal Trade Commission
Nathan Musick, Congressional Budget Office
Juan Carlos Navarro, Inter-American Development Bank
Omar Nayeem, Federal Communications Commission
Daniel Newlon, American Economic Association
Bonnie Nichols, National Endowment for the Arts
Jason O'Connor, Federal Trade Commission
Jonathan Porat, Small Business Administration
Ruth Raubitschek, Department of Justice
Janis Reyes, Small Business Administration
Michael Richey, Scineer Scientific Engineering LLC
Juan Riveros, Quadrant Economics LLC
David Rixter, HCR Consulting
Sally Rood, National Governors Association
Sarah Rovito, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Seth Sacher, Federal Trade Commission
Akbar Sadeghi, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Rachelle Sampson, University of Maryland
Paroma Sanyal, Brattle Group
David Schimmelpfennig, Department of Agriculture
Johanna Schneider, National Institutes of Health
James A. Schuttinga, National Institutes of Health
Richard Schwinn, Small Business Administration
Katie Seely-Gant, George Mason University
Miriam Segal, Small Business Administration
Stephanie Shipp, University of Virginia
Sujai Shivakumar, The National Academies
Donald Spicer, University System of Maryland
Emily Stein
Peter Stenberg, Department of Agriculture
Claudia Stevenson, Inter-American Development Bank
Jeffrey Stout, Department of the Treasury
Miron Straf, Virginia Tech
Paul Swiercz, George Washington University
Asrat Tesfayesus, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Joseph Teter, Naval Surface Warfare Center
Neil Thakur, National Institutes of Health
Gerard Torres, Patent and Trademark Office
Karen Villatoro, Small Business Administration
Jack Wang, Government Accountability Office
Karen White, National Science Foundation
Brad Wible, Science Magazine
Daniel Wilmoth, Small Business Administration
Nathan Wilson, Federal Trade Commission
Timothy Wojan, National Science Foundation
James Wolfe, George Mason University
Patty Wu, C&M International
Joseph Wyer, Amazon
John Yun, Federal Trade Commission
Denise Zheng, Center for Strategic and International Studies

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